I, Too, Sing America

On View October 19, 2018 – January 20, 2019


“I, Too, Sing America is a unique moment in the fabric of this country. It’s an epic exhibition.”
-Guest Curator Wil Haygood

“The dazzling Harlem Renaissance that flowered nearly a decade ago celebrated in Ohio”
Washington Post, November 19, 2018


I, Too, Sing America: The Harlem Renaissance at 100 celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance, a cultural movement that resonated well beyond the geographic boundaries of the New York neighborhood in which it was born. This original exhibition and its accompanying book are the culmination of decades of research by guest curator and Columbus native Wil Haygood, who has written award-winning biographies of 20th-century Harlem figures Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Sammy Davis Jr., Sugar Ray Robinson, and Thurgood Marshall. In addition to notable paintings by Elizabeth Catlett, Aaron Douglas, Jacob Lawrence, and many more, the exhibition presents rarely seen photographs by James Van Der Zee, as well as, hundreds of vernacular photographs from an outstanding private collection. A selection of books, music, films, and posters from the period further showcases the innovative and expansive cultural output produced in Harlem and elsewhere. The range of works sheds light on the ways in which artists, writers, filmmakers, and performers transformed representations of black experience in America.

I, Too, Sing America is part of a Columbus citywide celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance. Visit www.cbusharlem100.org for more Harlem Renaissance events in Columbus. 

Related Programs

Member Evening 
I, Too, Sing America
Friday, October 19, 5:00 PM– 8:00 PM
Members and their guests get an exclusive, private viewing of I, Too, Sing America: The Harlem Renaissance at 100 after CMA closes to the public. The evening includes light refreshments, a docent-led tour, and a special lecture at 6:00 PM by Guest Curator Wil Haygood.

Harlem Renaissance Community Day
Sunday, October 28, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
The entire community is invited for a fun, free day of art exploration at CMA. Bring family and friends and celebrate the legacy of the Harlem Renaissance. At 1:00 PM, head to the Studio for a make-and-take activity inspired by I, Too, Sing America. At 2:00 PM, enjoy a concert by the Denison University Gospel Choir. Initiate a conversation with one of CMA’s Roaming Docents from 12:00 PM-2:00 PM in the companion exhibition Isaac Julien: Looking for Langston. Join a gallery conversation in the I, Too, Sing America exhibition at 11:00 AM or 3:00 PM with Theresa Leininger Miller of the University of CincinnatiAll are welcome, no registration requested.

Funding for Community Day made possible by PNC Arts Alive.

What’s at Stake When We Talk About Black Art, Why the Harlem Renaissance Still Matters
Thursday, November 8, 6:00 PM
Join CMA and Denison University for a lecture by Dr. Emily Bernard offering perspectives and context to our exhibition, I, Too, Sing America. Dr. Bernard is Professor of English and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, University of Vermont and editor of the 2001 New York Times Notable Book of the Year Remember Me to Harlem: The Letters of Langston Hughes and Carl Van Vechten. The evening also features readings by Rachel Scott, Naki Akrobettoe, Mathias Jackson, and Tyiesha Radford Shorts. Dr. Bernard will be doing a book signing following the talk. Admission to the talk is $5 for nonmembers and free for members and college students and professors. Presented by PNC Arts Alive.

Wednesdays@2 Curator’s View: I, Too, Sing America
November 28, 2:00 PM
Learn more about I, Too, Sing America: The Harlem Renaissance at 100 during this lecture, which surveys the themes and artists on view, such as Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, Archibald Motley, and James Van Der Zee. The exhibition’s title is derived from a 1926 poem by Langston Hughes, a reminder that the Harlem Renaissance encompassed not only the visual arts but also literature, music, theater, and cinema, all of which will be included in this comprehensive look at this key period in the history of American culture. Cost of this program is $20 for nonmembers (includes general admission) and $5 for members.


Wednesday @2 Mozart to Matisse: Picturing the Harlem Renaissance
December 5, 2:00 PM
CMA, in partnership with Columbus Symphony Orchestra (CSO), presents this afternoon series pairing lectures exploring works of art with chamber music performances. This program features the uniquely American music and art of the Harlem Renaissance. Cost of this program is $20 for nonmembers (includes general admission) and $5 for members. Sponsored by CMA Docent Alums.


Lead Sponsor



This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a grant from PNC Arts Alive.

NEA logo  

[Image: Allan Rohan Crite, School’s Out, 1936. Oil on canvas, 30 1/4 x 36 1/8 in. (76.9 x 91.8 cm.). Smithsonian American Art Museum,Transfer from General Services Administration]

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